Healthcare: At a Glance - Report published on diabetes education

What's happening?

The Department of Health and Diabetes UK have outlined the way in which diabetes sufferers should be educated. From January 2006, in line with NICE guidelines, Primary Care Trusts will have to provide all patients with a structured programme on how to manage the condition.

Why is this a PR issue?

Think 'best practice' and then think product comms - there may well be opportunities here. For example, Sanofi-Aventis (which produces diabetes brand Amaryl) has professional education programmes including specialist nurse training, patient training material and a helpline. Other major players, such as GlaxoSmithKline (Avandamet) and Roche (Accu-Chek) can add expertise in various aspects of diabetes.

Has anyone welcomed the report?

Eric Teo, UK medical director of Novo Nordisk, has said it is 'mutually advantageous' for companies to work with the DoH on this. Novo Nordisk produces a number of products, including insulin brand Actrapid and the FlexPen insulin delivery system, and runs a patient helpline as well as providing information on issues that are not product-specific, such as footcare and eyecare.

What's the scale of the issue?

About 1.8 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, and an estimated one million people suffer from the condition without knowing it.

Crikey. What does the report say?

It highlights two DoH programmes that meet NICE criteria. The first is Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating, which teaches people with type 1 diabetes to adjust their insulin dose to suit their diet. The second is Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed, which enables people with type 2 diabetes to identify health risks.

What's behind the initiative?

Better patient care - and money: the NHS spends an estimated £5m a day on diabetes care, but says better self-management will help to cut costs.

Further information www.dh.gov.uk.

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